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Hubstaff Review: Why I Still Love Using It To Manage A Remote Team After 5 Years

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

Join me at the forefront of web design and digital marketing innovation. I am obsessed with web design, business philosophy and marketing performance.
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Do you want to ensure your remote team functions at its optimal capacity? But there’s this repeating question: Which time and productivity tracking software should I choose? There are many options, and Hubstaff’s name often surfaces in these discussions. Yet, you’re still unsure whether this software is the best solution for your needs.

As your remote workforce expands, you must find the proper time and productivity management software before it’s too late. Ineffectiveness in this field can lead to financial losses, deteriorated team morale, and missed business opportunities. Yet, you’re facing decision paralysis and struggling to decide between Hubstaff and its alternatives.

I faced a similar dilemma.

Over the past decade, my digital marketing agency grew exponentially, and the demand to manage a team of over 30 members became more and more challenging. Manually handling all my responsibilities led to several burnouts. I started using Hubstaff five years ago, and this time and productivity tracking solution helped me get things under control.

In this honest Hubstaff review, I’ll show you its key features and how they can impact your operations. If Hubstaff is the right fit for you, you’ll know. If it isn’t, you’ll know why. After reading, you’ll also understand which tools to combine Hubstaff with to ensure you build a growth-friendly business environment.

Table of Contents:
Hubstaff review

What Is Hubstaff?

Hubstaff is one of the most popular cloud-based software with employee productivity and time tracking capabilities. But this platform includes many other features that can help you with reporting, payrolls, and various HR tasks.

This workforce management software company was founded in 2012 by Dave Nevogt and Jared Brown. It has gained tremendous popularity as more and more teams started working remotely. As teams started breaking free from the constraints of brick-and-mortar offices, the demand for efficient tracking tools skyrocketed. And Hubstaff, with its robust features and user-friendly interface, emerged as a front-runner.

I see it as an ideal fit for small and medium-sized businesses working remotely. Once your employees start the desktop app, it will track websites and applications they’re using, their screen activity, and mouse and keyboard activity levels. You can also use it to track how much time your team members spend on each task, which can help you optimize their productivity and get the most out of each project.

Hubstaff mobile app provides additional opportunities, such as GPS location tracking. I haven’t personally used that feature for my agency. But I can see it as a valuable asset if you’re against having your employees working away from their designated spaces.

I’ll show you how this and other features work later in this Hubstaff review. But first, I’d like to discuss how you can build a healthy business environment around this software.

Why I Still Recommend Hubstaff After 5 Years Of Using It

Back in 2018, my Chicago web design agency had projects pouring in, and team members were scattered across various locations. That’s when we started using Hubstaff to optimize employee productivity. And I had a great experience with this software so far.

There are several reasons I still love Hubstaff after five years of using it. Those reasons go beyond this platform’s primary functionalities:

  • Holistic Approach: Hubstaff isn’t just a tracking tool. It’s a complete ecosystem. Along with employee monitoring, it brings project management capabilities and task tracking features to the table, making it an indispensable asset, especially for project managers in our team.
  • Employee Satisfaction: It might sound counterintuitive to some, but having a tool like Hubstaff can boost team morale. With Hubstaff, our team felt trusted. They knew they would be compensated for every second they put in, and it also eliminated the unnecessary pressure of manual time-logging.
  • It helps me save time:  Hubstaff allowed me, as the business owner, to step back from the nitty-gritty of team monitoring. Hubstaff’s automated tracking meant I could allocate more time to strategic decision-making and minimize micromanagement. This not only saved me hours but also ensured that my interventions were only necessary when genuinely needed.

Hubstaff has been a partner in my agency’s growth journey, ensuring that we maintain a balance between productivity, employee satisfaction, and operational efficiency. In this Hubstaff review, I’ll also show you how you can benefit from this employee productivity tracking tool.

Hubstaff features

Hubstaff Review: Features That Can Help You Manage Your Remote Team Effectively

Now it’s time to explore Hubstaff’s key features and how you can use them to manage your remote workforce more effectively.

Remember that you don’t necessarily need to use all the tracking and monitoring tools Hubstaff provides, as you might find some more intrusive than others. I also recommend creating clear policies, so your employees know which information Hubstaff will collect and which expectations they must meet.

Reading a guide to managing your remote workers is a good starting point before implementing Hubstaff or similar tools for your business.

Let’s start the main section of this Hubstaff review:

Time Tracking Solutions Helps You Optimize Your Team’s Productivity and Ensure Accurate Billing

Hubstaff offers dual modes of time tracking, catering to various preferences:

  • Time sheets: Your team can enter their time through time sheets, which record past hours worked. This is a traditional time-tracking method, and we’re not using it with my agency as much as we use the stopwatch. I’d perhaps use time sheets more often if Hubstaff allowed for adding future time, but you can’t use it as a shift planner since it doesn’t.
  • Automatic time tracking: You can use the automatic stopwatch feature that runs continuously on the desktop and mobile apps. It’s also good to know that Hubstaff supports offline tracking, which means you can keep working without worrying, even if you lose connection. Once back online, the data syncs up, keeping the records intact.

What I particularly like about Hubstaff time tracking is that project managers get daily email breakdowns of what employees are working on. Receiving concise, digestible summaries of what each team member is working on has empowered me to stay atop project timelines, reallocate resources when needed, and even recognize patterns in productivity. 

Since I have integrated Hubstaff and Hubstaff tasks, my employees can also track time for tasks from that platform directly from Hubstaff’s desktop or mobile app. Of course, if you prefer an all-in-one platform, Hubstaff allows you to create projects and tasks within its interface, further streamlining the process.

It’s also worth mentioning that Admins can manually edit time for users, which comes in handy if some of your employees overlook switching timers between tasks or completely forget to turn the automatic time tracking on.

Hubstaff has been a reliable time management solution for my agency. With its multifaceted features, this time tracking software has seamlessly blended into our daily operations, ensuring that every moment of work time is appropriately accounted for.

Scheduling Allows You To Easily Assign Recurring Shifts, Breaks, And More

At the heart of an efficient remote working environment lies the ability to set clear schedules and expectations and facilitate regular work patterns. And that’s precisely what Hubstaff’s scheduling tool can bring to your table.

Within the Schedule tab, Hubstaff provides straightforward options for determining work hours. Need someone to start at 9 a.m. consistently? Set it up. Want to ensure that your team isn’t overstretching and is taking regular breaks? Adjust the break durations. And if you’re looking to establish a recurring work pattern – say, a specific shift every Tuesday – that’s doable with just a few clicks.

Once you set things up, Hubstaff will let you know if your team members have attended their shifts, were late, or abandoned them too early.

One feature I’ve found genuinely useful is the filter mechanism. When managing multiple schedules – different departments, various team members – the ability to quickly sift through and pinpoint a specific schedule becomes essential. I found Hubstaff’s filters versatile enough to manage schedules for my employees quickly.

Activity tracking

Find Out If Your Employees Are Cutting Corners With Activity Tracking Features

In an era where remote work is becoming increasingly common, ensuring your team stays on track can be challenging. 

As an employee monitoring software, Hubstaff offers several features to help you gain a panoramic view of what your team is up to during work hours:

Keystroke Logging:

Hubstaff’s keystroke logging is one of the most helpful features for tracking productivity. It calculates an activity percentage by evaluating mouse movement and keyboard activity over 10-minute spans.

Generally, if an employee’s daily activity consistently hovers below 50%, it might indicate they aren’t fully engaged. My most productive employees usually achieve between 75 and 89% activity level.

It’s essential, though, to remember that these metrics aren’t a one-size-fits-all. Different roles might inherently have varied activity levels. So, while these numbers offer insights, they aren’t definitive judgments on performance.

However, if someone’s productivity has dropped significantly over the month and their output hasn’t been as satisfying as before, it’s usually a sign that something needs to change.

It’s also important to remember that Hubstaff doesn’t record which keys your employees are pressing or what they’re doing with their mouse. So your employees can still achieve high activity levels despite not doing work-related stuff. Luckily, Hubstaff introduces other monitoring features to help you prevent this.

URL and application monitoring:

This feature gives you a transparent view into which websites and applications your team interacts with and the duration of these sessions.

You can then run custom queries in the Report module to discover time and activity levels for each app or URL.

Activity Screenshots:

Hubstaff’s activity screenshots provide snapshots of your employees’ screens at intervals you define. I’d recommend going for one screenshot every 3 minutes. This seems to be a delicate balance between thorough monitoring and respecting employee autonomy. But some businesses also use three screenshots per minute, so it’s all up to your preferences.

Furthermore, Hubstaff respects privacy concerns, offering options to blur parts of these screenshots to protect sensitive information.

Hubstaff Offers Flexible Payroll Features

Ensuring timely and accurate payments is crucial for me as a business owner. Hubstaff’s payroll functions offer both flexibility and precision in this domain.

One of the standout features is Hubstaff’s automatic payroll. Once set up, it removes the manual strain, allowing for scheduled payments based on hours worked. It’s particularly beneficial if you’re running a tight schedule and must ensure that payments go out punctually. But if you like a hands-on approach or prefer to pay outside Hubstaff’s system, there’s flexibility for that, too. The platform allows employers to either process manual payments or merely mark the hours as paid, enabling payments through external means.

Before processing the automatic payroll, you have the option to review and approve your team’s logged hours. This feature provides an extra check, ensuring you’re only disbursing payments for validated work.

Moreover, Hubstaff provides an option to set pay rate limits for each team member. This is especially useful if you have budget constraints or want to ensure that employees don’t log beyond a specific number of hours in a given week.

I found Hubstaff’s compatibility with multiple payment gateways particularly valuable. Whether you’re a PayPal enthusiast, a Payoneer user, or prefer Bitwage, the platform seamlessly integrates with these. 

Client Invoicing Is Possible Directly From Hubstaff

Hubstaff has integrated client invoicing directly within its platform. Whether you wish to bill your clients based on the hours dedicated to their projects or prefer a fixed price model, the choice is yours.

Each project can be linked to a specific client, ensuring clarity and transparency in every invoice. Additionally, to add that personal touch or to provide specifics about the billable components, Hubstaff offers the option to customize your invoices with messages.

One of the features I like is the client login. By granting clients access through this portal, they can actively track the progress of their projects. It’s a step towards fostering trust and ensuring that your clients always have a clear picture of where their investment is going.

However, while Hubstaff’s invoicing feature is undeniably convenient, it might not replace dedicated invoicing software for larger organizations or those with intricate billing processes. The current iteration of the feature doesn’t support direct payments via credit card or bank transfers. As a result, after a client makes a payment, it has to be logged into Hubstaff manually. If this sounds inconvenient, you might want to check some other small business tools to use along Hubstaff.

Reporting features

Reporting Features

Data-driven decision-making is a hallmark of successful businesses. And when it comes to workforce management and project oversight, reports form the backbone of this data-driven approach. 

Hubstaff offers a wide range of reports:

  • Time & Activity – This report lets you see a comprehensive view of each team member’s time logged, activity levels, and the amounts earned on specific projects or tasks.
  • Daily Totals – Break down time worked, activity levels, and earnings on a day-to-day basis, giving you a clear weekly overview.
  • Apps & URLs – A handy feature for those focused on productivity, this report offers insights into the apps used and websites visited by team members during work hours.
  • Work Breaks – Have you ever wondered how often and how long your team takes breaks? Hubstaff provides insights into these patterns.
  • Amounts owed and Payments – Keep track of outstanding amounts owed to hourly-paid team members and view a history of payments made over a specified period.
  • Budgets and limits – Monitor weekly and daily limits usage, ensuring projects stay within the allocated time and financial budgets.
  • Time off balances and transactions – A holistic view of your team’s leave balances and transactions, keeping you updated on available leaves across different policies.
  • Team invoices – Stay on top of invoicing with insights into total amounts, amounts paid, and dues.
  • Shift attendance – Track the attendance patterns of team members, including completed shifts, late arrivals, early departures, and missed shifts.
  • Job site visits – For those managing field teams or requiring on-site visits, this report provides timestamps of team member entries and exits from specific job sites.

One of the aspects that make Hubstaff’s reporting stand out is the flexibility it offers in accessing this data. You can save specific filters, which saves you the hassle of entering repetitive search criteria each time. You can also export your reports to Excel and send PDF report files via email.

Mobile App Works Nice and Allows For GPS Tracking

If you’re looking for iOS and Android time tracking software, Hubstaff is strong in this field. I found its mobile app to be very intuitive. It allows me to keep my team on the right track even when I’m on the move.

While some users mentioned synchronization issues, I haven’t faced such problems. The app syncs workforce data promptly, allowing real-time monitoring of work activities.

One feature that comes with the mobile app is GPS location tracking. It captures location data at different stages to help you find out whether your employees are leaving their job site. At Alpha Efficiency, we don’t use this, but I can see how you can potentially benefit from GPS tracking if you have stricter policies in this regard than us.

Hubstaff Review: Pros and Cons

Now that you know the key features of this work management tool, let’s move on with this Hubstaff review by summarizing its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Bug-free employee activity tracking features with a variety of options
  • Easy time tracking software
  • It helps you gain insights into your team’s productivity
  • Combining it with Hubstaff tasks, an agile project management software, gives you even more options for team management
  • It comes with payroll functionality and versatile payment integrations
  • Desktop application and mobile app work equally well
  • You can use it from the web browser, too
  • Allows you to set job site perimeters and track GPS locations

Cons:

  • Reports could be more detailed
  • Your employees will need to refresh web browser tabs to get fresh data
Hubstaff pricing

Hubstaff Pricing

Pricing is one of the main factors influencing software choice for growing businesses. Before wrapping up this Hubstaff review, I’d like to show you the pricing structure of this tool:

  • Free – $0, but it’s for solo users.
  • Starter –$4,99 per month per user when billed annually or $7 monthly per user.
  • Grow – $7.5 per month per user if billed annually or $9 monthly per user.
  • Team – $10 per month per user if billed annually or $12 monthly per user.
  • Enterprise – Custom pricing.

It’s also worth noting that you get two months free if you opt for annual billing.

I recommend getting at least the Grow plan for your business, and I have one strong reason for that. Starting with this plan, you get access to Hubstaff Tasks (an agile project management tool) for free. My agency is combining both platforms, and this approach makes keeping track of your projects much easier and significantly extends Hubstaff’s project management capabilities.

Hubstaff also gives you the option to pay for add-ons if you find the plan you choose limiting. This is an excellent option if you don’t need all of the features that come with premium plans, as it allows you to save money and tailor this software to your needs.

Now, let’s answer the most important question for this Hubstaff review…

Is Hubstaff The Right Tool For You?

If you’re searching for a reliable time tracking and employee monitoring tool, Hubstaff should be high on your priority list. It’s an easy-to-use tool, ideal for remote teams. But although it’s beginner-friendly, Hubstaff doesn’t compromise on depth. This software comes with some advanced functionalities and extensive customization options, allowing you to tailor it to your needs.

If your goal is to cultivate a culture of accountability, drive productivity, and ensure every member is pulling their weight, then Hubstaff is poised to be a formidable ally in that mission.

Ready to take the leap and transform your team’s productivity dynamics?

Get started with Hubstaff today and witness its impact on team management yourself.

Hubstaff has a free plan, so you can’t go wrong by experimenting with this platform.

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